Photo by Muntasir Sharafadin, UNAMID.
UNAMID and the Government of Sudan (GoS) on 10 December 2018 officially declared the registered contaminated areas at Kulbus Locality, West Darfur, free of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) and Unexploded Ordnance (UXO).
This followed the successful implementation of a project to clear the land of ERW and UXO, in line with UNAMID’s mandate to protect civilians. It is the third project of this nature, with the other two having been conducted in Forobaranga and Krinik localities, also in West Darfur.
To mark the achievement, UNAMID’s Ordinance Disposal Office (ODO) and the National Mine Action Centre (NMAC), hosted a celebration and launched a pilot survey aimed at ensuring the area is kept free of residual ERW and UXO. Thousands of people from across Kulbus Locality attended the celebration and welcomed the launch of the pilot survey.
“We are very happy to celebrate an important and historic achievement, the declaration that Kulbus is free of known ERW and UXO,” said Ms. Anita Kiki Gbeho, UNAMID Deputy Joint Special Representative (DJSR), while addressing guests at the celebration. She described the project as an example of the cooperation between government and the Mission, adding that “through the partnership of NMAC and UNAMID’s ODO, Kulbus Locality addressed the risk of death or injury from UXO.”
The Wali (Governor) of West Darfur, Mr. Hussein Hammad, commended UNAMID for its role in the success of the project, which contributed towards peace in the area in the long term.
“The clearance of the area paves way for the implementation of development projects, in line with the current transition from humanitarian aid to development in Darfur,” he said.
Mr. Hammad stressed government’s commitment to continue to sensitize communities and raise awareness about the dangers and impact of ERWs. He added that government would continue with weapons collection programme, in efforts to enhance peace and security. This view was supported by the Lieutenant - General at the Ministry of Defense, Jamal Mohammed, who expressed government’s commitment to free Sudan of ERW, in line with the Ottawa Convention.
UNAMID ODO Programme Manager, Mr. Jeffrey McMurdo highlighted the efforts made by UNAMID ODO and NMAC to sensitize communities about the dangers of ERW.
“The best way to stop deaths is to work with the community to find and destroy all known ERW, and that is what has been achieved in Kulbus,” he said.Mr. McMurdo added that the joint ODO and NMAC team had assessed 139 villages in Kulbus, where 478 ERW and 220 items of small arms ammunition were found and destroyed.